Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 6

Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 6

Statistical Analysis

Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 6

Week 5 was the first weekend of the season to feature extended byes, but there were still ample fantasy points to go around with 11 teams scoring 24 or more points in the 13 games through Sunday with nine 300-yard passers, five 100-yard rushers and 12 posting at least 90 receiving yards.

Rookies and sophomores also continued to impress with Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott and Leonard Fournette all ranking among the top six overall fantasy point-producers of the week while combining for 15 total touchdowns.

That established, it’s time to delve even deeper into the significant stats, notable numbers and illuminating integers compiled through action Sunday in Week 5 of the 2017 fantasy season. Here goes …

  • We begin not with a prolific performer from Sunday but one from the other end of the spectrum as Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger bombed with a with a 3-point fantasy performance in leagues which ding QBs two points for turnovers. Big Ben did complete 33-of-55 passes for 312 yards but didn’t guide the Steelers into the end zone while tossing a career-high five picks – two of which were returned for TDs by the stellar Jaguars pass defense in a 30-9 Jacksonville road win. Subtracting 10 points for the interceptions, that totals three points in some leagues – ironically tying his Jacksonville counterpart Blake Bortles, who threw the ball only 14 times while completing eight for 95 yards, no scores and a pick – for lowest-scoring-QB-of-the-week honors. So with the Steelers currently tied for a disappointing 19th in the league at 19.8 points per game, more than a few are wondering if the 35-year-old Roethlisberger is declining faster than expected and maybe should’ve followed through on his initial inclination to retire in the offseason. That’s an overreaction in the opposite direction, but from a fantasy perspective, Big Ben’s numbers are indeed trending the wrong way. He’s currently averaging a career-worst 6.5 yards per attempt, and in the 14 games – including three playoff contests – since scorching the Cowboys for 408 yards and three TDs in Week 10 last season, Roethlisberger has only posted two 300-yard games while throwing 18 TDs and 17 interceptions. He’s failed to hit 250 passing yards in eight of those outings while throwing multiple TD passes on just six occasions. He currently ranks 22nd among quarterbacks with 17.41 fantasy points per game, and perhaps best belongs on the bench in even some 16-team leagues until he regains some signs of life.
  • Sunday afternoon in Arlington, Texas, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams made a triumphant return from the wicked Week 4 headshot that cut short his Thursday-night outing against the Bears by catching seven of his 11 targets for 66 yards and two TDs – including the game-winning 12-yarder with 11 seconds remaining – in a 35-31 shootout win over the Cowboys. All the numbers above were team highs and gave Adams 23 catches for 285 yards and four TDs on 39 targets for the season, placing him eighth among wideouts with 52 total fantasy points. Adams was pegged as a strong regression candidate after last season becoming only the fifth wide receiver in the last 25 years with 12 or more TD receptions while also garnering 125 or fewer targets, totaling 75 or fewer receptions and failing to reach 1,000 yards. However, Adams is right on pace to repeat the rare feat once again. And since the start of last season, Adams’ 16 TD receptions rank second only to teammate Jordy Nelson’s 20, with no other player in the league owning more than 14. And with Nelson now dealing with a hamstring issue which kept him on the sideline for Green Bay’s game-winning TD drive Sunday, Adams could himself as the top target for Aaron Rodgers, the No. 1 QB in the league. Keep riding this wave of fantasy success for all it’s worth.
  • The same can be said about two of the three current leaders atop the tight-end TD-catch list, the Buccaneers’ Cameron Brate and Browns rookie David Njoku, who join the Jaguars’ Marcedes Lewis with three apiece. Even though no tight end has hauled in as many scoring passes as Brate’s 11 since the start of last season, the fourth-year Harvard product continues to be underrated. Perhaps that has something to do with Brate ranking fourth on his own team in targets (22), receptions (15) and yards (205), but fantasy-tight end production is arguably more TD-dependent than any other position, and in that regard no one has been better than Brate over the last 21 weeks of regular-season play. Meanwhile, the freakishly-talented Njoku hauled in a scoring pass Sunday for the third time in last four games and now has as many TD grabs (three) as the rest of the Browns’ pass catchers combined. Like Brate, Njoku so far ranks far down on his own team’s pass-catching pecking order with 15 targets, 12 receptions and 108 yards, but again, touchdowns speak volumes, and as the one of the league’s three winless teams and their wide-receiver position an injury-riddled and jumbled mess – to be kind – the Browns would seem to have no choice but to lean on Njoku even more.
  • Up in Buffalo, the 3-2 Bills are one of the AFC East’s surprise co-leaders almost a third of the way through the season. By that alone, many might assume that the Bills and LeSean McCoy have picked up right where they left off last season atop the league’s rushing charts, but while the Jaguars (175) are the only team with more rushing attempts than Buffalo’s 158 so far through Sunday, the Bills rank 16th with 106.6 ground yards per game, 27th in average per carry (3.73) and are tied for 28th with one rushing TD. That’s a far cry from the 2,630 rushing yards, 5.35 average and 29 TDs Buffalo led the league with a year ago under coordinators Anthony Lynn and Greg Roman. Now, Rick Dennison is in charge, and to be succinct, that hasn’t gone as well for McCoy, who is averaging a career-worst 3.21 yards per carry and has yet to find the end zone on 114 total touches this season – easily the most by any player without a TD. Thanks to his 27 receptions on 32 targets – both team highs – McCoy still ranks as a top-10 PPR league back, but he’s 16th among RBs in the standard-scoring ranks, and he’ll be doing quite well if he winds up scoring only half as many TDs (7) as he did a year ago when tying for fourth in the league with 14 total scores. Adjust your fantasy expectations accordingly.
  • Extra points: James White and Andre Ellington rank 1-2 among running backs in receptions with 29 and 28, respectively, but they have combined for only 33 rushing attempts – 20 for White and 13 for Ellington – and neither has found his way into the end zone. … Per an @NFLResearch tweet, the Jags’ Forunette is the fifth player since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to begin his career with a touchdown in five straight games, joining Bills RBs Joe Cribbs (1980) and Karlos Williams (2015), Patriots RB Robert Edwards (1998) and Washington WR Charlie Brown (1982). Williams and Edwards hold the record by scoring TD in their first six contests. … With 12 passing TDs, Watson trails only Tom Brady’s 13, but he does lead all QBs with 14 total TDs with Brady and Prescott right behind with 13 apiece and Alex Smith with 12. … Larry Fitzgerald (10), Adams (9), Dez Bryant (9) and the Patriots’ Chris Hogan (9) lead the league in red-zone targets while Nelson (5), Hogan (4) and DeAndre Hopkins (4) are setting the pace with red-zone TD catches. … Le’Veon Bell (11), Carlos Hyde (11), Fournette (10) and Todd Gurley have the most rushing attempts inside the opposition’s 10-yard line so far with all four scoring at least two TDs. … The Chiefs lead the league with 19 total TDs. Kareem Hunt is pacing the squad with six while WR Tyreek Hill and backup RB Charcandrick West have three apiece, with West’s coming on only 15 total touches, including two scores on 10 receptions. … The Dolphins are the lone team without a rushing TD so far while the Bengals, Saints and Cardinals join the Bills with only one each. … Cowboys WR Cole Beasley caught four of his six targets for 23 yards and two TDs Sunday, snapping an 11-game scoreless streak. … The Jaguars lead the league with 20 sacks and 15 total takeaways – after totaling 33 and 13, respectively, a year ago– and now have scored four defensive TDs this season, returning two interceptions and a pair of fumbles for scores. The rest of the league has 18 defensive TDs combined through Sunday.

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